by Paul Williams
What does the average Arsenal blogger have to write about in the summer?
Clearly, whatever it may say in my Twitter bio, I don’t consider myself to be just an “average” Arsenal blogger. However, I am in exactly the same boat as the Arseblogger, Gunnerblog and all of those guys. When there are no Arsenal matches to write about, you obviously have a lot less material to work with. It’s sort of like being an observational comedian but one who suffers from memory loss.
I mean, how far can you take blogs and articles on who is and isn’t good enough to be part of the Arsenal first team? How many times can you write about why you think Petr Cech would offer an instant upgrade on either of your goalkeeping options? Once you’ve said it, you’ve said it.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ve offered that opinion, here at least, so here it is. I don’t want to write Wojciech Szczesny off but, with David Ospina currently cast as an unconvincing #1, it’s a moot point anyway.
In Petr Cech Arsenal have a rare opportunity to improve the goalkeeping situation at a stroke. Arsène Wenger should take it. Szczesny, people forget, is still very young for a goalkeeper and has plenty of time to develop and mature, but Petr Cech is a Premier League great and still has time on his side.
#signhimupsignhimupsignhimup #cechone (a little Leftfield reference for you there)
That said, I did find myself looking at his stats and wondering if they would have been as good had he not been playing behind Ku Klux Terry and company for the last ten years. One thing you can say about Classless FC is that they, particularly under the stewardship of Jose, are pretty, pretty, good at defending.
Anyway, that’s that dealt with; what else have we got?
Well, it seems that Theo Walcott’s dramatic, too late for Easter but just in time for the FA Cup Final, resurrection means that this summer will see the latest edition of TJ and the Signed Contract. Despite what I’ve said about in the last few months, it would feel churlish to begrudge Theo. As we know, serious injuries can take some time to recover from and perhaps Theo’s anonymity was just a by product of that.
If the Theo we saw in the final week of our season is indeed the real one, who would want to be the manager who lets him go? Especially after the ten years of development hell we’ve been through with Theo? He’s like a real life version of Jurassic World – harsh? Maybe, but wait… – except even more spectacular than the mighty Indominus Rex.
Hopefully, that’s dug me out of a hole Cannon Towers own Helen Trantum would happily be filling in above my head as I gasp for breath.
Let’s move on.
It’s at times like these you really have to go and find yourself another sport, otherwise you go mad. Luckily for me, I love cricket, tennis and snooker – no, I’m not mad. With the snooker World Cup starting in China, Wimbledon and the Ashes just around the corner, I’m covered. The next couple of months present no particular problem whatsoever for me; I’ve got a full plate. Especially as Jo and I are getting ready to move to Beckenham.
However, if you’re one of those strange, football and football only, people (why?) you’ve got yourself a bit of a problem. The most exciting thing to hit the Arsenal internet this week- apart from this column of course- was a t-shirt. No, not an Arsenal shirt, but the t-shirt Arsène Wenger was seen rocking. Clearly, our usually sartorially excellent manager had wandered into Next, or maybe Top Man and, in a fit of panic, bought the first thing he came across. Once you’ve seen it, I’m not sure you can unsee that photograph.
Speaking of the kit launch…
The amount of excitement generated by the kit launch event seemed disproportionate to me. No, it’s not just because I wasn’t invited – anyway, Daily Cannon was represented at the launch, so there! It’s just that the idea of giving up your Monday to go and queue outside the Emirates for a bit before the reveal of a kit you’ve already seen a hundred times on the internet, well, it seems like a daft one to me.
Particularly as this kit launch seemed a bit more workaday than last year’s casting of Arteta, Cazorla and Flamini as shop dummies (a role Arteta and Flamini have become used to this year) and the pyrotechnics on the Thames. Maybe I’m just being a bit curmudgeonly about it. After all, it seems that everyone who went had a great time, some networking was done and, certainly, our Daily Cannon correspondent enjoyed his time with Nacho Monreal.
I suspect that, rather than the reveal of a – shock, horror – red and white shirt, this building of community and access to members of the first team was the point of the exercise for all those involved.
Does it seem weird to anyone else though? Think about it, Arsenal’s season finished less than three weeks ago. Already we’ve seen next season’s kit launch and, on Wednesday, the fixtures for next season announced. The publication of the coming season’s fixtures always feels a bit like the beginning of the season to me. It certainly focuses the mind anyway. I don’t want to be thinking about next season yet. I want to continue saying to people, ‘You know, Arsenal haven’t won a trophy for three weeks‘, stuff like that.
Anyway, announced the fixtures were and with them we were given the gift of hosting Slaven Bilic’s first fixture as West Ham boss. Part of me thinks that the opening game of the season can often be a bit of a lottery. With New Manager Theory in operation, what has usually been a straightforward fixture for us, suddenly feels a little trickier.
That said, with only Alexis due to return to first team training late, Arsène will be confident of getting the team off to a good start. With another home game against Liverpool sandwiched between another tricky, but winnable trip to Crystal Palace and the long journey to Newcastle, Arsenal really should get off to a much better start to the season than they did twelve months previously.
Looking at the Champions League schedule, match days one and two are followed by fixtures against Chelsea (away) and Manchester United (home) which is a pain. I suppose, though, we should be thankful that we don’t have the qualification play off to worry about this time around. Matchdays three and four, by the way are followed by home games with Everton and Spurs. Although, as the Arsenal have very helpfully pointed out,
the Spurs fixture is subject to change due to their Europa League commitments.
Looking further ahead, if Arsenal can get themselves to March in touch with the league leaders, if not actually leading, well… then, we could be looking at at our first title since 2004.
Not, you understand, that I want to get too far ahead of myself.
Now look what you’ve made me do.